The big box stores versus the small mom and pop shops; it's a battle that's been playing out in several Rock River Valley communities: Belvidere, Rockton, and now Dixon. A new Wal-Mart Supercenter opens there on Wednesday. Here’s a look at how that town is reacting.
Dixon: the late Ronald Regan once said it’s "a place to come home to," and that's exactly what Wal-Mart is doing. Wednesday, Dixon becomes home to one of the retail giant's newest supercenters.
"It's exciting and it means 300 new jobs for the area. People have been coming here everyday asking about when we open, so they're really excited," says store manager Rick Schulz.
And perhaps surprising to some, downtown business owners share in that enthusiasm. Most welcome the competition even if it means making some adjustments.
"You have to improve your service and look for more unique products than Wal-Mart and that may mean going into Wal-Mart and finding things to compliment them and finding things that compliment me," says Dixon Floral Gallery owner Jean Millar.
And just down the street from Millar’s floral shop, goldsmith Eric Brantly believes there will be very little overlap downtown from Wal-Mart.
"I don't think Wal-Mart will be big competition. We're very proud of our downtown. There are unique services that I don't think you'll find anywhere else," says vice president of Trein's Jewelry Store, Eric Brantley.
At the very least business owners and residents say the new supercenter will improve Dixon's tax base. Many had been traveling to nearby Sterling anyway to shop at Wal-Mart.
"We'll be able to keep our money, for sale tax here and use it to improve our water and the other things this community needs," says Millar.
And after strolling down the aisles at Wal-Mart, business owners believe customers will take a short drive downtown and take a stroll down theirs as well.